About the Author: Rashad Hussain serves as U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
This past week, during my trip to India, I met Mr. Anand Kumar and hundreds of students, graduates, and teachers from Super 30, an NGO in Patna, Bihar that helps exceptional students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds gain admission into the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Mr. Kumar, from a disadvantaged background himself, seeks to empower his students by promoting education as a means to overcome obstacles. I was incredibly impressed to hear that for the last three years, all of Mr. Kumar's students have passed the entrance exams for IIT.
When I arrived at Super 30, I found an enthusiastic gathering of hundreds of teachers, volunteers, and students newly admitted to IIT filling the room with an indescribable energy. We discussed the importance of broadening and deepening cooperative efforts to expand access to education in India. Hearing the stories of the students was inspiring. Many of Super 30's students came from families of brick layers and rickshaw operators and never imagined they would one day have a chance to attend the IIT. Not surprisingly, when asked about their future goals, many students said they want to help others with similar backgrounds access advanced education.
I was also moved by the efforts of volunteers who work tirelessly to help the students at Super 30, and of teachers who contribute the wages they earn as private tutors to finance the institution. I came to Patna, Bihar to explore models of success for expanding educational opportunities around the world, and I certainly found one such model with Super 30.
President Obama has continually stressed the importance of education. That's why the United States has expanded exchange programs -- so that U.S. students can study in other countries and so we can welcome talented foreign students to our schools and universities. And that's why we will continue to develop and expand partnerships in education all over the world.